How to Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolution to Stay Sober

There’s nothing like the start of a new year to give us the nudge we need to finally become who we want to be. For recovering addicts, there’s one glaring resolution that may be an obvious one to make, but is a monumental goal that requires more than an extra boost of motivation that will probably fade by February (sorry resolutioners, studies have proven it). Don’t leave your recovery up to chance, here are 7 simple-but-effective ideas for sticking to your New Year’s resolution to stay sober.

1. Set specific goals in achievable chunks

Staying sober is a simple resolution to set, but it’s certainly no small task. When trying to tackle a lofty goal like this, it’s best to break it up into smaller steps that actually outline how you can make it happen. Some examples are to avoid the beer and wine aisle at the grocery store or leaving your ID in the car (so that you legally can’t purchase it), avoiding restaurants that offer drinks on happy hours, or getting rid of your alcohol paraphernalia. Breaking your ultimate goal into smaller chunks can make it seem much more achievable, but perhaps more importantly, will get you thinking about actionable steps that create a pathway to success.

2. Announce your intentions to the world

Studies have shown that sharing your goals with others makes you more likely to follow through. By publicizing your intentions, you invite others to help hold yourself accountable and also to offer encouragement and praise—another powerful motivator. Having a sense of community and social support, whether it’s people rooting for you or whom you don’t want to disappoint, will remind you that you’re not alone in your endeavor. 

3. Turn healthy habits into a competition with friends

A little healthy competition is always a good thing, especially if you use it to propel yourself into making healthy habits. Challenge a group of friends to non-sobriety-related goals like who hits their hydration goals first, has the most steps in a day, or does the most workouts during a week. By focusing on the foundations of an overall healthy lifestyle, you are even less likely to revert back to your old ways. Since participants don’t have to be someone within the recovery community, you have a wider pool of people to compete with. Fitness trackers like Fitbit and Apple Watch allow for competitions between peers, and health-based social sites like MyFitnessPal make it easy to share such information.

4. Pre-plan celebrations for your sobriety milestones

In January, the idea of staying sober through all the months, and their respective holidays can seem daunting. But having fun things to look forward to in your calendar is a great way of maintaining motivation. If you don’t have anything to RSVP to just yet, create your own events that do double duty of promoting your resolution to stay sober. Mark the dates of when you’d hit meaningful sobriety milestones and actually plan out how you would celebrate your accomplishment. Think about the kind of food you’d serve, what you’d do for entertainment, the people you’d want to attend, and even what the invitations would say. Visualizing what your success looks like will keep you on track to making sure it comes to fruition. 

5. Sign up for a 5K

Keeping yourself on track for the long-haul means having future goals that require you to follow through. In this case, a 5K requires a certain level of physical fitness—something you would likely be unable (or unwilling) to do if you were no longer sober. These races are very customizable and can be done no matter your preferences (group or private setting, indoors or outdoors, walking or running) making it easy to get in on the fun. Bonus: many come with badges or certificates, offering a visual representation of your accomplishments. Find a 5K near you here

6. Journal every day

One of the simplest ways to keep yourself mindful of your goal is to journal. You can do this via traditional pen and paper or go a more modern route with a video diary. Regardless of how you choose to document your day-to-day, journaling is has a lot of benefits. Doing so encourages you to reflect on your experiences which gives you an opportunity to assess how you feel—whether good or bad. Your previous entries will allow you to look back and relive your triumphs and can provide valuable insight into your mindset after certain setbacks or recognizing correlations between your mood and certain events. 

7. Accept that you may falter

Addiction recovery is an ongoing journey that never truly ends and demanding perfection from yourself will only lead to disappointment. No matter what fail-safes, accountability partners, or checklists you enlist on your journey, relapses are a very real part of the recovery process. The most important part of sticking to your New Year’s resolutions as an addict is to accept the possibility that you may experience setbacks. Staying sober isn’t about never faltering, but about trying again over and over, each time it happens. If all else fails, turn to an addiction treatment facility for professional assistance sticking to your resolution to stay sober. 

Pros & Cons of a Local Addiction Treatment Center

Self-admitting into rehab is one of the hardest – but bravest – decisions a person will make in their lifetime. The next step then becomes: Where to go? With so much riding on your recovery, choosing an addiction treatment center isn’t a decision to be made lightly. But with more than 14,000 treatment facilities in the United States, the search can seem daunting. One of the first questions people have is a great way of narrowing down the options. If you’re having trouble deciding whether to attend a local addiction treatment center or to go somewhere further away, here are the pros and cons of both.

Pros of a Local Addiction Treatment Center 

The most notable benefit of choosing a local facility is convenience, which comes in the form of both cost and time savings. No need to spend money on plane tickets touring facilities or finding a place to stay. Saving money on the logistics might enable you to partake in a more in-depth treatment program which could make a significant difference in the long-term success of your recovery. 

Another strong selling point: The disruption to your life is minimal. Parental duties, professional obligations – these are a few of the reasons why some cannot remove themselves from their day-to-day life for weeks or months at a time. Depending on the type of treatment program, you might be able to stay at your current residence – a major cost saver – and even to continue working at your current place of employment. 

Lastly, staying close to home inherently means that you can begin treatment sooner. The interim between your decision to go to rehab and being admitted is bound to be shorter than if you were to travel to a rehab facility. This reduced waiting time can play a crucial role in recovery since willpower can waver. 

Cons of a Local Addiction Treatment Center

The biggest case against staying local is that too much convenience can actually be a bad thing. Being close to home makes it much easier to fall into bad old habits. The temptation to self-checkout of rehab early might be hard to resist if you have friends or family you can call to pick you up at any moment. Yes, having your support system nearby can actually be detrimental. Plus, being nearby to your connection of dealers is just asking for trouble.

Even riskier still is that drug addiction is closely tied to settings, meaning that simply seeing or being in a similar environment where drugs were used could be triggering. Being in a familiar setting – or immediately going back to a familiar setting once you’ve finished your program – can quickly undo your progress. For this reason, being able to stay at your current place or continue working while in rehab can actually sabotage your efforts. 

While it might initially be difficult to justify removing yourself entirely from your current life and focusing on your health, failing to do so can make your relationships and job performance worse off by staying.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Rehab Facility

Acknowledging that you have a problem and then actively seeking help? That’s no small order. The next step of deciding which addiction treatment center to go to is the next most important decision – one that could make the difference between life and death, and, it’s crucial to choose a facility that’s right for you. While “right” will be different for everyone, it’s important to consider the types of treatments available. 

Not all treatment centers run the gambit of detox, inpatient treatment, dual diagnosis alternative therapies, 12-step programs, or aftercare. The best way to figure out if a facility is a good match is to call, and many of them offer 24/7 phone support. If you’re interested in addiction treatment in Florida, contact Level Up Lake Worth today to talk to admissions. 

What Are the 12 Steps of AA & What Do They Mean?

Since its creation in 1935, millions of alcohol addicts have joined Alcoholics Anonymous to curb their destructive drinking habit. The 12 Steps of Recovery, often referred to by its short-form ‘12 steps’. It is one of the cornerstones of this community-based organization. Members are encouraged to revisit these steps as often as necessary to ensure their recovery. If you are trying to get sober, learn what are the 12 steps of AA along with what they mean and how to apply them. 

What Are The 12 Steps From?

The steps used in today’s Alcohol Anonymous support groups are the same ones used by the organization’s founders in the 1930s. First outlined in The Big Book this text is still central to AA teachings and is considered one of the most influential books of all time. Designed to guide participants through various stages of self-awareness, the program has been instrumental in helping alcoholics get sober for nearly 100 years.

The 12 Steps of AA Explained

While it’s important to know the AA 12 steps, that’s only half the battle. Understanding the intent and how to apply these guidelines to your own life are a crucial part of getting sober with AA. Incorporating these steps may initially seem challenging to the non-religious member as several of the steps reference the concept of God. This is due to the organization’s Christian roots. Nowadays, many AA groups use secular interpretations of the 12 steps that are easily applicable to agnostic, atheist, and otherwise non-religious AA members. 

Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards making a recovery. While it might be painful or embarrassing at first, acknowledging alcohol addiction is the most important part of achieving sobriety. 

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Find a source of inspiration and strength beyond yourself. External motivators can help keep long-term goals in perspective during moments of weakness. If you are not religious, this “greater Power” could be a loved one like a spouse or your children, a person you admire such as a celebrity or friend, or even a hobby such as running or playing music.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Acknowledge and embrace that you cannot control everything. By letting go of this expectation, you alleviate a considerable source of disappointment and frustration, which is likely a strong trigger for the desire to drink in the first place. This can also be interpreted as being open to advice and guidance from others such as therapists or doctors.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

This encourages participants to take mental stock of their character and personality. Using workbooks and lists to physically write down adjectives and other identifiers is recommended. This self-assessment is important in developing honesty with oneself and identifying one’s shortcomings. 

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Sometimes referred to as “Confession”, this continuation of self-evaluation can be challenging. Admitting wrongs may require owning up to an unpleasant or shameful past; as well as acknowledging the bad things we have thought or done to others and ourselves. This vulnerability is a powerful part of the 12 step process that requires courage and complete honesty. Sharing your darkest moments with another person might seem unthinkable and uncomfortable, However, many participants are surprised at how therapeutic this practice is.

Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Having the right attitude can make or break any substance abuse recovery effort and Step 6 is all about wanting to change. This is about developing the proper mindset rather than an actionable task. Therefore, it can be difficult to feel that this has been accomplished. It is recommended to talk to other people, such as a counselor, therapist, or sponsor who may be able to provide additional perspective.

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

This is about humility and taking action to create change. Whether accomplished through praying to a higher power or simply asking a friend to hold you accountable, this is an actionable step towards shedding your old ways.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Acknowledging the selfish, harmful, and potentially hurtful actions of our past can be acutely stressful. This reconciliation is often accompanied by immense feelings of guilt. This step, however, is about taking responsibility and learning to forgive ourselves. Facing the full brunt of the consequences of past behavior is an important reminder that alcoholism doesn’t just negatively affect the drinker.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

It’s one thing to come to terms with an unpleasant past, but to face the actual people we may have wronged is an entirely separate beast. By nature of interacting with anyone other than ourselves, things quickly become unpredictable. This is often a source of stress that can tempt participants back to old habits. If this is the case for you, consider additional alcohol addiction treatment options to prevent backtracking of progress. Remember, this is about taking ownership for past actions, not lip service to alleviate guilt.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

After achieving considerable personal awareness, your mindset has likely changed quite a bit throughout this process. This step is about constant and real-time reflection of your actions in your day-to-day life, and taking responsibility for them. Find yourself getting road rage in traffic? remind yourself that getting angry won’t make the lights change or the lights move any faster. This is the sort of self-check that step 10 encourages.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Whether you are religious or not, this step is all about strengthening your mental discipline. Whether through prayer or secular meditation, it’s about checking in with yourself; being gracious and forgiving with yourself for fallbacks, and being grateful for the progress you’ve made.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The final step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program is by no means the end of an alcoholics recovery journey. This involves bringing the mindfulness acquired in each step into the every day. It also means sharing your story to help other alcoholics to introduce them to AA. 

You Finished the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous…Now What? 

Completion of the Alcoholics Anonymous steps won’t miraculously end your desire to drink. In fact, many successful recovered alcoholics still find themselves with cravings even decades later. AA members are encouraged to repeat this process as often as necessary for long-standing recovery.

The urge to drink can still persist even after multiple completions of the 12 steps. In cases like this, it’s highly recommended to seek additional alcohol addiction treatment. Rehab facilities like Level Up Lake Worth offer in-house 12-step group meetings. This makes it easy to get additional treatment in a single location. From individual counseling to alcohol detoxing, our dedicated team will be there every step as you overcome alcoholism. Contact us to learn more about how you can enroll in the Level Up Lake Worth 12 step program today.

How Long Does Crack Cocaine Stay In Your System?

Crack cocaine, more commonly referred to by its shorthand ‘crack’, is a cruder form of cocaine. These illicit street drugs have a nearly identical chemical and pharmacological makeup to one another. Both are very powerful substances but crack cocaine has a much shorter-lived stimulating effect. Short-lived means that it will be out of your system quickly, right? Well, not necessarily. If you are wondering how long crack cocaine will stay in your system, the truth is that it varies. Depending on various factors and how you are measuring the amount of this drug that is still in the human body, the answer may be different.

You see, crack cocaine is a fast-acting drug that provides an energizing and stimulating effect within seconds. However, these effects wear off in as little as a few minutes. This does not mean that the drug is out of the body. Let’s take a look at some different ways we can test for the presence of crack cocaine in the human body.

Crack Cocaine Drug Testing

Blood Test

Via a blood test, crack cocaine can actually be detected for the shortest period of time. A blood test would typically only detect the consumption of this drug if it occurred in the last 2 to 12 hours. Blood is constantly being pumped through the human body and being filtered. This is why it may only be detected for such a short period of time.

Saliva Test

Another way that crack cocaine can be detected in the human body is through saliva. Via this method, detection could occur up to 24 hours after the last use.

Urine Test

A urine test is probably the most common method for drug testing because it is easy to collect the specimen and many drugs can be detected for a longer period of time than saliva or blood test. Crack cocaine can be detected in urine anywhere from 1 to 4 days.

Hair Test

The method that allows crack cocaine use to be detected for the longest period of time is a hair test. A hair test can detect the use of various drugs, including crack cocaine, for 3 months or longer. Although this method of drug testing is not common, and arguably the drug is no longer “in your system” it is a way in which the substance can be detected.

Factors That Affect How Long Crack Cocaine Stays In Your System

Any of these methods of detecting whether crack cocaine is still in someone’s system consist of a range of time. The following factors can play into how long each test would be effective:

Liver Function

A well-functioning liver will be able to filter blood faster and more efficiently than a damaged or stressed liver. Therefore, someone with a healthy liver will be able to process chemical substances, even crack cocaine, quicker. However, drug use can cause stress on the liver. Crack cocaine use over time may lead to liver damage and cause it to work harder and longer to process out toxins.

Length of Use

When referring to the length of use, we are referring to how long the individual has been using this particular substance. Is this the first time using, or have they been using crack cocaine for months or years? Use over a longer period of time can cause the substance to build up in that body. Consequently, it will take longer to process crack cocaine or other toxins out of their system.

Food and Water Intake

Water consumption can help flush out crack cocaine from your system. On the other hand, eating food can slow down the ability to metabolize the substance because the human body is simultaneously trying to digest the food.

Amount of Drug Used

The greater the dose of crack cocaine used, the longer it will take for the human body to process the substance. This is because the liver is only able to process a certain amount in a given time.

Polydrug Use

Mixing drugs is a dangerous practice that can have numerous effects on the human body. Often co-drug use can significantly increase the effects of the substances consumed, in addition to increasing how long it takes for the human body to process the drugs.

Am I Addicted?

Are you concerned you are addicted to a substance and need to enter a drug treatment program? The use and abuse of any drug are serious and drug dependence isn’t something that goes away on its own. Being able to recognize the signs of addiction in yourself can help you to make the choice to enter a drug treatment program and to get the help you need.

If you exhibit any of the following signs or symptoms, it is imperative that you seek out treatment. The sooner you begin the recovery process, the sooner you can take back control of your life.

  • It requires more of a substance to get the same effects you were experiencing before.
  • No matter how much you attempt to limit yourself, you always use more. You may “let yourself” use a small amount. But the drive to use more kicks in and you struggle to stop with what you told yourself would be fine.
  • People begin to notice you are acting strange and are possibly using drugs.
  • Physically, you no longer look like the same person. This includes bloodshot eyes, shaking, or other noticeable changes in your body.
  • Sleeping habits are changing and you sleep more or less than you used to. You may also ear more or less than people remember you did before.
  • The substance you’re using is already impacting your life. This includes trouble with the law, problems with your family, or while you are at work.
  • There is no longer the love or passion you had for other things in life.
  • When a drug begins to wear off, you become sick or depressed. You might break into a sweat, shake, or even experience fever or seizures.
  • You begin to lie and steal just to obtain the money you need to purchase the drugs.
  • You find it impossible to stop using the drug, no matter how much you want to.
  • You no longer can do things that were part of your daily routine.
  • You reach a point where you are endangering the lives of others while using the drug. Such as operating heavy machinery or driving while under the influence.
  • Your focus isn’t on anything but the drugs. No matter how much you try to think about something else, you find you need to get more until you take it. This provides you with some relief until the effects begin to wear off and you become angry with yourself.